For the first time ever, a cycling competition on the scale of Tour de France was held in Israel.

The four-day Tour de Israel kicked off on the morning of March 7 in Nahariya in northern Israel, with 124 cyclists, including 44 foreigners.

The scenic route passed the Mediterranean Sea, Galilee Mountains, Mount Hermon, Sea of Galilee, Beit She’an and Nazareth. From there, the cyclists rode along the Jordan Rift Valley and the Dead Sea, through Masada to the Negev mountains to the finish line in Eilat, where they enjoyed some rest and recreation in one of the country’s premier tourist resorts.

Israelis Niv Livner and Ran Margalit won the first edition of the Tour de Israel competition. After racing over the 477-mile route, the GO-PRO team duo crossed the finish line first.

Their overall time was 19:09:09.45 hours. Second place went to Tzachi Bolgan and Anton Michalov with international triathlon champions Dan and Ran Alterman finishing third.

The event, sponsored by the Tourism Ministry, was designed as a two-person team competition, featuring nine separate categories based on gender and age: Men; Women; Mixed Gender; Adults, Masters and Grand Masters.